Alleged passport seizure: Court to hear El-Zakzaky, wife’s N4bn suit against DSS, AGF January 19
A Federal High Court, Abuja, has fixed Jan. 19, 2022, for hearing the suit filed by Leader of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN), Sheik Ibraheem El-Zakzaky, and his wife, Zeenah, against the Department of State Services (DSS) and Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF).
Justice Inyang Ekwo, on Friday, fixed the date to allow the defendants in the fundamental right enforcement suit respond to allegations leveleld against them.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that while El-Zakzaky and his wife are applicants in the separate suits, the DSS DG and AGF are 1st and 2nd respondents respectively.
In the suits dated and filed on Oct. 14 by their counsel, Femi Falana, SAN, the IMN leader and wife are demanding general and exemplary damages over the respondents’ refusal to release his travel passport.
In his suit, El-Zakzaky asked for an order of the court mandating the DSS and AGF to pay him the sum of N2 billion for the alleged violation of his rights to freedom of movement, fair hearing and property, despite being acquitted and discharged by a court on July 28.
He also sought a court declaration that the seizure of his passport with number A50578740 since May 2019, and travel restrictions placed on his passport at land borders “without a court order, was illegal and unconstitutional.”
El-Zakzaky said the seizure violated his fundamental right to freedom of movement as guaranteed in Section 41 of the 1999 Constitution and Article 12 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights.
He also prayed the court to grant a perpetual injunction, restraining the respondents from further violating his rights.
El-Zakzaky asked the court to declare that the refusal of the DSS and the AGF to allow him to travel abroad for medical treatment was a “threat to his life.”
He further asked for a court declaration that the restriction violates his right to fair hearing.
He alleged that while in custody, he suffered lead poisoning with 244 lead metals lodged in his body, while his wife was shot in the thigh.
Also, his wife, Malama Zeenah, in her suit, also asked for an order of the court mandating the DSS and AGF to pay her the sum of N2 billion for the alleged violation of his rights to freedom of movement, fair hearing and property, despite being acquitted and discharged by a court on July 28, among others.
When the matter was called, counsel to the applicants, Marshall Abubakar, who represented Falana, informed that all the respondents were duly served.
NAN reports that while the AGF was represented by Oyin Koleoso, no lawyer appeared for the DSS.
Abubakar then told the court that the 1st respondent (DSS) had been served with the processes and the hearing notice.
He said the matter was ripped for hearing.
But the judge said: “When the court is satisfied that parties have filed their processes and issues have been joined, the court will give a date for hearing.”
Justice Ekwo, who said he was mindful to adjourn the case for the respondents to keep their house in order, fixed Jan 19, 2022, for hearing the suits.
He also directed the applicants to ensure that hearing notices are issued to the respondents.